…Last Wednesday, in his ‘State of the Union’ address, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker attempted to put forward an upbeat vision of the EU.
Largely ignoring the Brexit-sized elephant, Juncker instead chose to stick to his tried and tested approach: “The European project continues. Let’s choose to look forward. Be positive.” Get Britain Out questions whether simply ignoring such a major setback is a wise move, but it seems Juncker is determined to continue to try and put a positive spin on things. No matter what the question is, the answer for Juncker is always the same – more Europe.
Aside from his rather bizarre demands for greater positivity, Juncker’s speech also contained a number of interesting proposals – in particular concerning the issue of defence. Rather surprisingly, Juncker started with a rather frank admission, saying: “Europe can no longer afford to piggy-back on the military might of others.” This is undeniably true.
Examining the funding of NATO, the transatlantic alliance which has ensured peace in Europe for half a century, the freeloading of European nations swiftly becomes apparent. The US (which covers around 72% of total NATO spending) spends 3.6% of its total economic output on defence, in stark contrast to Germany, the largest European economy, which spends under 1.2% of its GDP. The UK is not much better, only matching the NATO minimum defence spending requirement of 2% through some rather creative accounting…